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Serco employee on lifesaving mission for blood cancer charity

Published: 28 Nov 2013

An employee from Serco's Welfare Services business based in Birmingham city centre is encouraging colleagues and their families to become potential lifesavers by registering as stem cell / bone marrow donors on behalf of Delete Blood Cancer UK.

In the UK, someone is diagnosed with blood cancer every 20 minutes; and every 10 minutes blood cancer takes a life somewhere in the world. Marketing Manager, Marianna Barillec embarked on her charitable mission after her family friend, Senka, 65, was diagnosed with a rare type of blood cancer earlier this year and discovered that a tissue match was her best chance of a cure and a future.

Marianna, along with Senka's daughter, Sofia, has so far encouraged over 30 people to register as potential donors after organising an awareness raising event at Laburnum House in Bourneville last month. The successful event also helped raise over £100 for the charity through the sale of cakes baked and donated by the two ladies and their families.

Marianna commented: "It's easy to forget the people behind the statistics, like my friend Senka, a hopeful and cheerful person who's loved by everyone around her. As a psychologist, Senka is used to helping people around her; but now it's our turn to help her. I wanted to let people know how easy it is to register as a stem cell donor and potentially save a life of a blood cancer patient. I have been touched by the selflessness of colleagues who have supported the cause by registering as donors, buying cakes and gathering information to encourage their family and friends to sign-up. I want to encourage as many people as possible to help potentially save a life."

Caroline Portlock, Donor Recruitment Manger at Delete Blood Cancer added: "For many blood cancer patients, a stem cell donation is the only chance of survival, but only half of the people diagnosed in the UK find a matching donor. That is why every single donor counts. Serco has provided us with a great opportunity to raise awareness, which really is key to increasing the number of donors on the UK stem cell register. We'd really like to thank Serco's Welfare Services business for organising this event and all volunteers who baked wonderful cakes and registered people on the day. Having 30 new potential lifesavers is amazing!"

Gareth Matthews, Business Director of Welfare Services said: "Serco is celebrating its 25th anniversary as a listed company this year and employees across the business are encouraged to come together to raise money and do good in our communities. I'm delighted that some of our employees chose to support such a worthy cause to potentially help save the lives of people suffering with blood cancer."